You're Not a Career Expert

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It’s become pretty clear that doling out work advice — and selling yourself as a career expert — is a quick and dirty way to gain notoriety in the blogosphere and in the mainstream media. If you’ve had a job, or if your parents had a job and sent you to an Ivy League college for your undergraduate degree, you can sell yourself as a career expert. This applies to underemployed journalists, out-of-work financial experts, and unemployed HR professionals (like me).

These self-appointed career gurus are offering simplistic, stupid, and condescending advice. Instead of honestly assessing the employment landscape and the hiring process — and giving you tips on how to understand the system and work it to your advantage — most writers and websites provide repackaged advice on interviewing, resume writing, and networking. You are offered lessons on etiquette and encouraged to play along with the system — as if that will help.

Here’s how I feel: If you need a reminder to show up on time and sit up straight during an interview, you don’t deserve the job.

There is no secret or fancy way to break through the system and get a job in this economy. There is no magic potion. The people who get hired, today, are those who are hardworking, educated, mobile, and confident. This doesn’t just apply to fancy white collar jobs, either. You will always have a job if you can keep your skills fluid enough to move around within an industry or trade, and you will always have opportunities if you are committed to the lifelong journey of improving your knowledge, skills and abilities.

So maybe it’s not tough to be a self-apppointed career expert, but it is tough to be a good and honest one. That’s all I’m saying.

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